Look Now, Beauty Can Die in a Moment

And this same flower that smiles today,

To-morrow will be dying.

–Robert Herrick

The end of beauty is strange.  The time elapsed can take decades.  You look at your wife…you don’t see a sudden change when she turns around to look at you…you don’t even notice the change because it’s slow…too slow for the human eye to perceive.  Only after the years pass, you look at her and something is different.  She’s still beautiful, but not in same way that she was when she was 22 years old.  It’s nature and it’s expected.

The beauty of a mountain landscape usually takes more than one lifetime to notice.  Barring a landslide, earthquake or Apocalyptic Chaos, the mountain is immutable.

The surreal beauty of clouds can last a moment or two.  Now, it’s a castle or dragon in the sky.  Now, it’s the shape of Idaho.

The beauty of the written word can and hopefully will last forever, in some form.

The beauty of a sunset or sunrise changes by the second…slowly giving way to darkness or to light.  The spectacular night sky is slowly changing as the stars and galaxies expand outward and away from us.  But we will never live a thousand lifetimes to began to see the shift of Polaris or the subtle change of Alpha Centauri.  For us it’s permanent.

It was 22 degrees this morning when I got into my car to make a quick run to the Post Office.  I started the car and looked up to adjust the mirrors.  There on the windshield was an array of stunning ice crystals that would rival the awesome nature of a thunderstorm.  And, that was the problem.  It was nature.  I’ve come to learn a few things in life; one is to look closely at the natural world and take a moment to stare.  Take a moment, for it will not last.  I turned off the car and went to get my camera.

I backed out onto the empty road and aligned the car so I could get some contrast with the crystals and the background.  I’m just learning the close-up function of my camera so it took a few tries to get what I wanted.

Did I capture it?  Not really.  I had turned the defroster on so I could see the road more clearly.  As the warm air blew against the glass, the crystals began to disappear.

I sat there until the last of the filaments of ice had gone…leaving small drops of water which were swept away by the wipers.  I didn’t destroy anything, the water is still there, as vapor…waiting to reform as a crystal or snowflake or raindrop.

But, a dry windshield is, to me, not that beautiful.  No, I saw beauty for about a minute before I killed it.


One comment on “Look Now, Beauty Can Die in a Moment

  1. this was a great read, Patrick. I loved reading about your experience with the ice crystals


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